NASHVILLE, Tenn.—U.S. Army Sergeant Adam Hartley brought his wife, Denata, to see the Shen Yun Performing Arts matinee at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Feb. 16.
“I love the show, it’s outstandingly good,” said Sgt. Hartley. He especially felt engaged by the lyrics of the songs in Shen Yun. Fluent in Chinese, Sgt. Hartley understood the nuances of meaning in the lyrics, and was translating them for his wife. He said he has lived in China.
“Well, I mostly translate some of the subtitles for my wife. I’m enjoying doing that. I’m kind of pestering her, honestly,” he said with a laugh.
Eyes sparkling, Mrs. Hartley fired back. “But I used to dance. So I’m pestering him with that!”
When she saw the classical Chinese dance and the ethnic and folk dance of Shen Yun, it made her nostalgic for her past as a performer.
“It makes me miss it. I miss it so much. We did a lot of performances and competitions,” said Mrs. Hartley, who is now a medical assistant.
She said she found the style of the choreography gentle and appealing. “The lines are different.”
According to the Shen Yun website, “The bearing of classical Chinese dance blends many elements. For example, “three round movements” form the foundation for the direction of movement, while the waist serves as an axis for the lifting and sinking of the torso with breath, the protruding and leaning back of the torso on a diagonal axis, the rounding in and rounding out of the chest, the movement of the ribs, and so on. These basic elements endow classical Chinese dance with incredible expressivity, and vast creative potential.”
Mrs. Hartley said the style of classical Chinese dance seemed more varied and flexible than Western styles, “It just seems more comfortable … This is a lot softer.”
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun will give four shows in Nashville from Feb. 15-17. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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